A well-known Geologist, Geochemist and Mineralogist, Alex has described and published the geology South of Boulder City, well as the Gold Butte Quadrangle South of Mesquite and North of Lake Mead. The published work covers a large part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It was done for the Nevada Bureau of Mines and the Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno, where he served as Mineralogist and Professor from 1956 to 1973.
The fieldwork did not leave much time to admire the beauty of the mountains and the rock formations of this area - one of the most picturesque in the world! Ever since, Alex has regretted not doing more photography and artistic recording of the most inaccessible and remarkable rock forms, caves, as well as plants, the cacti, and the rare desert animals he had seen and encountered. Thus, after over 40 years of active scientific activity which has taken him through all continents (except Antarctica! ), teaching and lecturing at universities and academies of science, studying Lunar Rocks from Apollo Missions for NASA, and consulting in Russia, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, South Africa, and Nigeria - he has retired in Montana but has returned to his 'first love' - Nevada and the "Rapakivi" granites which he has discovered in 1958 in Southern Clark County. The Guggenheim fellowship gave Alex an opportunity to study similar rocks in Egypt (and Australia).
In Egypt related rocks have been used to build Pharaonic temples, giant statues of Ramesside Pharaohs and the famous monolithic obelisks of the only woman Pharaoh Hatshepsut.
Born in Finland of a German-English-Russian family, which has produced artists, scientists, an Evangelist Lutheran Pastor Senior at St. Peter in St. Petersburg, Russia, a Major General, military officers, and government officials. Alex has his own ideas about 'rock art'. He sees in nature-molded or 'sculpted' rocks and monoliths not only forms resembling dinosaurs, elephants, turtles and other animals, human forms and man-built structures, but has photographed and collected unique combinations and products of weathering and plain coincidental 'arrangements' - that do not resemble anything reminding us of human - produced images; other perhaps than a coincidental similarity of some well-known modern painter's tableaus - such as by Dali, Bracque, Pollock, Rothko, Malevich, Warhol, etc...
Alex loves 'odd' surfaces seen on rocks and sandstone slabs, and schist, and stray boulders spotted on his long walks through the desert floor. He likes to photograph them covered with desert patina, green lichen, or just dust; but especially when they are found after a rare desert storm - still moist, shiny, colorful, and preferably what he calls free of all anthropomorphic signs or ghosts that would tend to make one think or recall some known object. This does not prevent Alex from discovering mystical images from the Old Testament, phantoms and faces done as well by NATURE itself, as a Michelangelo, a Leonardo, or a Raphael might have done. His photos of combinations of naturally fallen rock slabs can recall some Greek temples, or Gothic cathedrals, even a still life by Zurbaran !
Photo: J Coleman Miller 2008